Advice for Bushwalkers to consider Biosecurity

Recently we sought advice from the state government Primary Industries & Regions SA (PIRSA) in regards to issues bushwalkers should consider in relation to biosecurity.

Read the advice from Biosecurity SA – Invasive Species Unit, Primary Industries & Regions SA (PIRSA) in full below.

A major issue for the protection of native vegetation and primary production is the transport of seeds of weedy plants on clothing including footwear, and even coats or backpacks.

Walkers are advised to check their trousers, shoes and socks after walking through a weedy area, then take a moment to get all weed seeds out of their clothes. Staying on established walking trails can make it easier to avoid picking up this plant debris.

Walkers should also consider the potential for their vehicles to carry weeds on roadsides and car parks adjoining the walking trail.

The SA Weed Control App may be useful to walkers.

View as response letter (PDF).

 

Thank you for your enquiry, and for Walking SA’s interest in supporting the education of bushwalkers about biosecurity.

A major issue for the protection of native vegetation and primary production is the transport of seeds of weedy plants on clothing including footwear, and even coats or backpacks. All these items should be checked for any burrs, grass seeds etc. When camping out, it is also advisable to check swags and tents for seeds that get attached.

High risk declared weeds that may be transported in this way include caltrop, Noogoora burr and khaki weed; and, in the arid zone, buffel grass.

Walkers are advised to check their trousers, shoes and socks after walking through a weedy area, then take a moment to get all weed seeds out of their clothes. Staying on established walking trails can make it easier to avoid picking up this plant debris.

Walkers should also consider the potential for their vehicles to carry weeds on roadsides and car parks adjoining the walking trail.

Risk of vehicles spreading pests and diseases can be lessened by washing down using a hose, high pressure cleaner or spray tank and pump. Be sure to clean all potential seed collection points, and move the vehicle forward to ensure tyres are clean all around the tread. Sweep or vacuum inside the cab to remove seeds and plant debris.

Where no wash-down facilities are available be sure to physically remove all clods of mud and visible plant material in addition to cleaning the foot-well and cabin of the vehicle. Use a brush or scraping implement to remove contaminants such as burrs and clods of mud from tyres, mud guards, ledges and crevices where they could lodge.

Removed seeds should be bagged and taken to where they can be disposed of safely, for example by putting the bags in the ‘red’ garbage bin.

Soil pathogens such as phytophthora may also be carried in soil on footwear, particularly in the winter-spring wet months. Walkers should observe any signs marking known phytophthora infestations. The presence of shrubs that have died with all their dry brown foliage in place, especially yakkas and banksia, may indicate the presence of phytophthora.

Further to the above, the Invasive Species Council has produced a useful brochure on minimizing biosecurity risks when visiting natural areas: https://invasives.org.au/how-to-help/keep-gear-clean-wild/

Kangaroo Island is in the fortunate position of being free from many weeds and pests that are established on the mainland, and visitors have a responsibility to protect the island’s biosecurity. In particular, honey and unwashed potatoes must not be taken to Kangaroo Island. More information can be found at the Biosecurity SA website.

The SA Weed Control App may be useful to walkers. It illustrates all the plants declared in SA under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019, and enables a user to report infestations to regional weeds officers with GPS co-ordinates and a photo. The app can be downloaded from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions website at https://pir.sa.gov.au/biosecurity/weeds_and_pest_animals/weeds_in_sa/weed_contr ol_app

Volunteer groups who are installing trails should obtain advice from regional Landscape board staff and land managers regarding biosecurity signage, as part of the approval process for the on-ground works.

Thanks again for your interest in biosecurity issues.

Yours sincerely,
Dr John Virtue
General Manager Strategy, Policy & Invasive Species

Are you planning a walking group in Kuitpo or Mount Crawford forests?

The number of people and groups visiting our forests has been increasing, particularly since COVID.

For all small group day activities, including those run by walking clubs, ForestrySA requests the organiser confirms they can proceed as planned, and are not impacted by forest operations and other events in the vicinity.

At least two weeks prior, please send an email to recreation@forestrysa.com.au with the following details:

  1. Event Organiser name + contact details
  2. Expected number of attendees
  3. Dates/s and timing of arrival and departure to forest
  4. Map or route, and itinerary for proposed activities

Draft Pastoral Lands Bill up for review – access for bushwalking

Government review of Pastoral Act may impact access for recreational bushwalkers in the Flinders Ranges

Twelve months ago the State Government commenced consultation around revising the Pastoral Act. We encouraged people to submit input to preserve access to these remote locations for bushwalking.

Much of the land in the Flinders Ranges north of Hawker is not private freehold land but instead is leased from the State Government to pastoralists to undertake grazing ventures, whilst recognising the rights of Aboriginal people. As the land is leased, people can undertake recreational off-trail bushwalking in these remote locations. They must notify the lessee of their intentions to walk, and the lessee can only deny access in certain scenarios.

The Draft Pastoral Lands Bill 2020 is now up for public review. We’ve read through the bill, and are pleased to see that the rights to access pastoral lands to undertake bushwalking activities has been retained, and indeed improved. Of course with this right comes some responsibility, and the bill clearly states the offences and rights of different parties.

Have your say at yoursay.sa.gov.au/decisions/draft-pastoral-lands-bill.

The public consultation period closes 5pm Sunday 18 October 2020.

A Path Forward for the the Hallett Cove Boardwalk

The future of the popular Hallett Cove Boardwalk, also known as the Marion Coastal Walking Trail or Coastal Walkway, was put into doubt in October 2019 following concerns about structural issues which saw some sections having been closed for some time, and a 2.5km section of the 8km trail needing considerable upgrading for it to be re-opened. There are temporary street detours in place.

Hallett Cove is not only beautiful, it is also one of the most geologically significant sites in Australia. The boardwalk allows access to otherwise inaccessible parts of the coastline.

The majority of walkway expected to open by February 2020, with the Marion Council progressively repairing the 20-year-old structure over summer, which will see more than 2km re-open. This will cost $238,000 and is funded from the Council’s existing budget. Detours will continue to be in place around Kurnabinna and Grey Road gully sections. View maps of trail showing sections open, closed, and set to be re-opened by February 2020.

On November 26, the Council endorsed a $4.8 million plan to upgrade and renew further sections of 8km walkway. The plan includes investigating design realignment and rebuilding Kurnabinna and Grey Road gullies and completing the linkage of walkway between Heron Way Reserve and Field River. The Council has committed $2.44 million, and will seek matching funding from State or Federal governments to complete the necessary renewal work. The Council has developed a long-term renewal plan to completely rebuild the structures, which would cost an estimated $14.5 million over 15 years.

Government review of Pastoral Act may impact access for recreational bushwalkers in the Flinders Ranges

What is the issue?

The State Government is seeking input in order to review the Pastoral Act.

Much of the land in the Flinders Ranges north of Hawker is not private freehold land but instead is leased from the State Government to pastoralists to undertake grazing ventures1, and recognises the rights of Aboriginal people.

As the land is leased, people can undertake recreational off-trail bushwalking in these remote locations. They must notify the lessee of their intentions to walk, and the lessee can only deny access in certain scenarios. To clarify, by “off-trail bushwalking” we often mean following old vehicle tracks, or walking in a low impact environment, and can include camping for a few nights.

The Act also provides what are called Public Access Routes (PARs), which are often used by 4WDers for recreational use. They are well established and will likely probably remain, but our concerns are for access to other lands not part of PARs.

How could changes to Pastoral Act impact on recreational bushwalking? What are our concerns?

Currently, people intending to undertake bushwalks must notify the lessee of their intentions to walk, and the lessee can only deny access in certain scenarios. If support vehicles are to be used (or if the activity is recreational 4WDing), consent must be gained from the lessee.

Whilst we acknowledge that the Pastoral Act needs updating to allow for more flexible uses, including tourism and energy production, as well as the current need for cultural sensitivities, or mining activities, we’re concerned that access for recreational bushwalking may become restricted in these lands outside those limited, defined areas.

As tourism ventures are being considered to be included in the Act, this could further restrict access for recreational bushwalkers. We acknowledge that in some circumstances tourism ventures may be predicated on offering an exclusive access to experience the land, but would urge the Government to consider how this could adversely affect access for recreational bushwalking if it was widely implemented.

Who does this impact (in the context of undertaking recreational bushwalking)?

  1. Individuals doing self-planned self-guided bushwalking (in reality this is not individuals, but small groups of say 2-8 people)
  2. Bushwalking clubs, predominately those being Member Walking Clubs of Walking SA (the peak body for all forms of walking in South Australia), particularly those active in doing off-trail bushwalks north of Hawker, for instance Adelaide Bushwalkers, Friends of the Heysen Trail, and ARPA Bushwalkers (collective membership approx. 2,000 people) and other smaller walking clubs.

Continue reading article

  1. Pastoral land in South Australia covers 410,000 square kilometres of the state, comprising 324 leases. The management, condition and use of pastoral lands is provided for in the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act 1989. Link to Act.

Further upgrades for Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit Trail

A further funding boost of $2.9 million allocated to the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit trail will restore and upgrade this popular and iconic walking trail, making it safer, more sustainable and storm-resistant in the future.

The popular and strenuous walking trail sustained significant damage in the September 2016 storms, with initial funding being used to restore access, make safe and repair the most damaged sections of the trail by the end of 2018.

However, this new injection of funding will expand the scope of the upgrade, restoring the Waterfall Gully trail completely from top to bottom. The additional restoration work will extend the original completion date of the project, with the revised date for all works expected to be by the end of 2019.

The restoration works will include creek bank stabilisation, new boardwalks, stonework and trail re-surfacing.

Whilst these works are in progress detours will be in place for sections of the trail on weekdays for the safety of public users. Unless any unforeseen circumstances arise, the usual trail routes will be available on weekends and public holidays.

It is worth noting that detour routes may be longer and may cover slippery, steep terrain, so extra care and attention will be needed by all using these trails.

To keep up to date with the latest updates check out the Natural Resources Facebook page or for more information head to the National Parks website.

Kangaroo Island Coastline again under threat to walkers

A section of coastline along southern Kangaroo Island is again under threat to effectively being controlled by a private developer for a golf course.

This will restrict public access to and along the coast, including for walkers.

We here at Walking SA support that our coastlines should remain in public hands, and Kangaroo Island is a fantastic spot to explore and walk along the coast.

In February in response to overwhelming community concern the then Government rejected the proposed sale of land.

However, recently the new Government has proposed instead that a 50-metre-wide waterfront coastal reserve would be created to allow ongoing public access to the clifftop – which sounds like a good solution – except that because of the nature of the cliffs and landscape in many places that 50 metre mark will be right on the cliff top edge – effectively closing public access and thoroughfare.

An online petition has been started by concerned walkers.

Our focus on improving advocacy for walking

The voice of the people was heard about the sale of a section of Kangaroo Island coastline.

Here at Walking SA we are focussed on improving our advocacy for walking and on behalf of the walking community of South Australia.

Over recent months we’ve been involved with:

  1. Improving pedestrian crossings and crossing times on North Terrace with new RAH, SAHMRI and research precincts. We’ve been meeting with the Department of Transport Planning and Infrastructure to improve this.
  2. Input focussed on walking into the SA Health Public Health Plan Review
  3. Australian Adventure Activity Standards in consultation with Bushwalking Australia. After much discussion Bushwalking Australia will be finalising details shortly.
  4. Kangaroo Island coastline proposed sale to a private developer – Walking SA along with many other individuals and organisations including Friends of the Heysen Trail lodged a formal objection to this consideration. The voice of the people was heard and the Minister has advised that it will not proceed.
  5. Ongoing monitoring of gazetted changes to land use, such as unmade road reserves with review and lodging objections as appropriate when walking trail use or high-value potential walking trail use is compromised.

Of ongoing significant concern is still the issue of shared paths. This is still causing significant alarm to us and our members and the walking community at large. We will continue to make presentation to state and local government to address ways to improve the situation for all trail users. If you have issues of concern and examples of problems please get in touch with us.

Public Feedback Sought on Establishing Corridors to Protect Forest Trails

Public Feedback Sought on Establishing Corridors to Protect Forest TrailsThe ownership and management of the Bundaleer and Wirrabara Forests may soon change, following the Mid North Forests Future Strategy which commenced after the devastating bushfires of 2013 and 2014.

The State Government is proposing to use the Recreational Greenways Act 2000 to protect the Heysen and Mawson Trail networks for recreational access in perpetuity for use by walkers and/or cyclists. This will create a greenway over sections of the Heysen and Mawson Trails within Wirrabara and Bundaleer Forests that are proposed to be sold to private parties.

One of our member clubs, the Friends of the Heysen Trail, has some concerns with regard to the proposed changes. However, as they were only recently made aware of the proposals they are currently preparing a response. Whilst they support in-principle the use of the Greenways Act to protect the Heysen Trail and other walking trails, they are concerned that it proposes to re-route part of the Heysen Trail. Watch their website for details.

Submit your feedback via yoursay.sa.gov.au/greenways by COB Monday 12 June 2017.

Advocacy for walking footpaths and trails

Walking SA volunteers regularly review what is happening with regard to a variety of plans, particularly by local and state government that could have impacts upon walking. Over recent times these have included the riding on footpaths element of the new bike laws, various local government management plans for trails, the Hackney Road/O-Bahn development, the Darlington interchange and the RAH/SAHMRI North Terrace scenario. Walking SA regularly advocates, both formally and informally, on these types of matters to look after the interest of walkers.

If you have issues of concern or comments that you would like considered in our submissions, please contact the Walking SA office. Of late we have had concerns expressed to us with regard to shared trails in the Adelaide Hills where walkers are disadvantaged. Please let us know of issues in principal or even specific instances of concern.

Chambers Gully Track Closure Due to RockSlide

Chambers Gully Rockslide, Burnside Track trail closure, 13 August 2015

Due to a rock slip on the Chambers Gully Track on 5th August 2015, the single-track walking track has been temporarily closed whilst the City of Burnside clears the debris. Walkers should avoid the track.

The story was reported by The Advertiser, which named the track as the Chambers Gully Track. This is the official name of the track, although some walkers refer to this track section as the Burnside Track, or the Goat Track. The track affected is the single-track walking trail which begins at the gate entrance to Cleland Conservation Park (not to be confused with the gate entry immediately off Waterfall Gully Road). Refer to the map for more detail.

This closure temporarily affects the following walks:

Map of Chambers Gully Rockslide, Burnside Track trail closure, 13 August 2015

Government Response to Mt Lofty Ranges Mountain Biking Destination

Back in December 2014, we made a submission to the Government of South Australia in regards to their proposal to develop the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges as an international mountain biking destination.

We received a reply that discusses the balance between trails for mountain biking and walking. It states:

Response to letter, from Ian Hunter, Government of South Australia, re International Mountain Biking Destination, Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges - balance of walking and mountain biking trail users

While one of the State Government’s 2014 election commitments is to establish the Mount Lofty Ranges as an international mountain biking destination, there is ample room for the simultaneous promotion of our walking trails.

…preparing a technical report with recommendations… will include recommendations on a range of complementary outdoor recreation…

I note the concerns you have raised regarding the safety of trail users. The safety and enjoyment of all users will be a priority…

Best practice design will always be at the heart of responsible trail development. I am also advised that a combination of sharing paths where possible and setting aside single-use or single direction zones where appropriate will encourage the maximum number of people to use and enjoy our parks and other natural areas.

This is an exciting time for the Adelaide Hills. I acknowledge Walking SA’s input into the planning process and hope this will continue throughout the co-design planning process as we move towards achieving the vision.

Mid North Forests Future Strategy

Mid North Forests Future StrategyFollowing the devastating 2013 and 2014 bushfires which destroyed 85% of the Wirrabara and Bundaleer forests, the Government is obtaining the views of stakeholders and the local community about the potential options.

The forests represent 1% of the state’s forestry resources, with the South East being the powerhouse of our commercial forests. If the forests were replanted, it would take 25 years to mature to harvesting readiness, and be under threat of a similar destruction as occurred. Forests in the Mid North grow at half the rate of those in the South East. The future may lie in adding Wirrabara forest into the adjacent Telowie Conservation Park.

Trees are being hurriedly harvested and shipped (the current load is too high for local sawmills) whilst the burnt trees still have commercial value.

Work is underway to restore walking trails and the Heysen Trail.

Response to Vision of the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges as an International Mountain Biking Destination

We have made a submission to the Government of South Australia in regards to their proposal developing the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges as an international mountain biking destination.

WalkingSA logo19 December 2014

The Honourable Ian Hunter, MLC
Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation
GPO Box 1047
ADELAIDE SA 5001

Dear Minister,

Re: Visioning Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges as an International Mountain Biking Destination: Response to stakeholder consultation meeting October 2014.

In October 2014, Walking SA was invited to attend a stakeholder meeting to discuss “Developing the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges as an International Mountain Biking Destination”.

We appreciate the opportunity that was offered at this meeting to provide feedback about the potential benefits and risks of progressing this concept.

As the peak body for all forms of walking in South Australia, Walking SA is fully supportive of actions that will showcase our State. We believe visioning the Mount Lofty Ranges as an international recreation destination and promoting a broad range of activities has great merit, given the close proximity to our city, the accessibility and natural beauty of the area.

However, we strongly recommend that any proposal to raise the profile of the Mount Lofty Ranges as an international recreation destination must be inclusive of walking.

The Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges already has an outstanding network of quality walking trails and shared use corridors that provide great recreational opportunities for walkers and horse riders, as well as mountain bike riders.

A limited recreational vision for the future of the Mount Lofty Ranges – i.e. primarily as a Mountain Biking Destination – misses the potential for broader development and promotion of the region as an exciting opportunity for local, national and international visitors to explore the region in different ways.

Walking SA proposes three key principles (and associated risks) for consideration in future recreational planning in the Mount Lofty Ranges.

1. Safety and enjoyment of everyone – i.e. local and international walkers, riders and mountain-bike riders who access the Mt Lofty Ranges for recreation:

There is a significant speed differential between different types of users on shared trails, particularly for walkers and downhill mountain bikes. Heavy or fast bicycle use on ostensibly shared trails can discourage walking, particularly for older walkers or those with hearing or sight impediments. Similarly, large crowds of walkers or sightseers on a trail can impede cyclists.

Trails designed for downhill mountain bike riding cannot be regarded as suitable for walkers. Therefore, a well-planned mix of trail types needs to be provided to cater for the diverse needs and abilities within the community.

2. Environmental impact

Degradation of narrow, vulnerable bush walking trails increases when tracks are opened up to multi-purpose use. Mountain bike riding is much more likely than walking to produce ‘gullying’ and water flow along tracks, leading to erosion or ponding. Careful planning, trail design and regular monitoring will be critical to all future development, particularly if the Ranges are promoted primarily as a mountain bike destination.

3. Cost of building and maintaining trails

Walking infrastructure is relativity inexpensive and in many cases already exists. The requirements for mountain bike tracks will be significantly more expensive to construct and maintain. Funding for the development and maintenance of a variety of trails will provide a greater return on investment in terms of both health benefits and tourism.

In conclusion, Walking SA suggests that the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges should be promoted as an INTERNATIONAL WALK / RIDE / BIKE DESTINATION which offers fantastic opportunities for walkers, mountain bikers, off-road cyclists, back road cyclists and horse riders.

The focus of promotion could be the range of opportunities so close to a major city. Maps and descriptors could be made of trails and routes that could be explored in different ways. Casual and more serious adventures could be promoted. Linking of food and wine outlets, and overnight stays, could feature.

A broader and more inclusive focus would ultimately attract larger numbers of international visitors.

Walking SA is supportive of further inclusive development of the Mount Lofty Ranges to encourage a greater variety of recreational activity and enjoyment, boost tourism and promote positive health outcomes.

Please contact Walking SA if we can be of further assistance.

Yours sincerely,

Dannielle McBeath
Executive Officer
Walking SA